Alvarez Really Moving

When Henderson Alvarez was called up to the New Hampshire Cats, the coaching staff was hoping he would be able to pitch well. Now that he's taken the mound eight times for the Double-A club, Alvarez has shown he could be the biggest arm in Toronto's farm system.

Although he's only posted a 4-3 record, Henderson Alvarez, whose fastball has topped out at 101mph, has only given up 14 earned runs and averages five strikeouts a game. It's not the numbers that are impressing Fisher Cats pitching coach Pete Walker though, but the pitches he's actually throwing, especially his fastball.

"His movement is as good as anyone I've seen at this level that's for sure," said Walker. "It's late-sink, it's heavy, it's hard to square up from a hitters point of view."

Alvarez's fastball has the perfect mix of a sinking action and speed, but Alvarez isn't near done perfecting the pitch.

"It's an ongoing project, I'm working on it," Alvarez said through the help of a translator. "This is the hardest I've ever thrown. It has good movement and good velocity. I'm working on my sinker and working on velocity."

The next step for Alvarez is to perfect a full arsenal of pitches, and while his breaking stuff isn't quite ready for the big leagues; his changeup is on par with his fastball.

"His changeup is a major league pitch right now, there's no question about it," said Walker. "His breaking stuff, his slider and his curveball, are continuing to be works in project but are very close. They're pitches he has to continue to put in work and time on but they are coming along."

If Alvarez is going to come around and become the major league pitcher he wants to be, he knows he needs to fix all his small problems now, and that's what he's been working on.

"The thing I've worked the most on is my mechanics, keeping steady with those mechanics," said Alvarez. "And if there's a time to make adjustments, now is the time."

Like most pitchers on the Double-A level, Alvarez, has one major problem to fix if he wants to become a major leaguer, and that's consistency. While staying consistent is a problem everyone faces, Alvarez's issue right now is consistently hitting his target.

Certainly at only 21 though, Alvarez isn't going to be perfect in his mechanics but he is working on it right now.

"I'm working on not opening up to early and keeping the structure of my posture straight up," explained Alvarez about his current adjustments. "That's part of my success, not opening up to early. I'm working on all my pitches location, obviously velocity comes with location. I want pin-point location."

Like most pitchers on the Double-A level, Alvarez, has one major problem to fix if he wants to become a major leaguer, and that's consistency. While staying consistent is a problem everyone faces, Alvarez's issue right now is consistently hitting his target.

"He has the stuff to get major league hitters out, it's just a matter of doing it on a consistent basis," said Walker. "I don't think anyone will deny that, I think he needs to get more seasoning, he needs to face more batters, work on his routine, and preparation to pitch on a major league level.

"I'd say he's getting closer by the game but he needs to continue to pitch and do the things he needs to do to consistently get major league hitters out."

It's not just a couple of pitches that make Alvarez so good on the mound though. It's his all-around game that has his coach raving why this Double-A stud could make the majors.

"He controls the running game and he fields his position tremendously," said Walker. "His command is very good, it continues to get better.

"His composure on the mound is very good and his presence of the mound is good and continues to get better every game. I think he locates his fastball at a very good level right now."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nAlthough he's only posted a 4-3 record, Henderson Alvarez, whose fastball has topped out at 101mph, has only given up 14 earned runs and averages five strikeouts a game. It's not the numbers that are impressing Fisher Cats pitching coach Pete Walker though, but the pitches he's actually throwing, especially his fastball.
\r\n
\r\n\"His movement is as good as anyone I've seen at this level that's for sure,\" said Walker. \"It's late-sink, it's heavy, it's hard to square up from a hitters point of view.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlvarez's fastball has the perfect mix of a sinking action and speed, but Alvarez isn't near done perfecting the pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's an ongoing project, I'm working on it,\" Alvarez said through the help of a translator. \"This is the hardest I've ever thrown. It has good movement and good velocity. I'm working on my sinker and working on velocity.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe next step for Alvarez is to perfect a full arsenal of pitches, and while his breaking stuff isn't quite ready for the big leagues; his changeup is on par with his fastball.
\r\n
\r\n\"His changeup is a major league pitch right now, there's no question about it,\" said Walker. \"His breaking stuff, his slider and his curveball, are continuing to be works in project but are very close. They're pitches he has to continue to put in work and time on but they are coming along.\"
\r\n
\r\nIf Alvarez is going to come around and become the major league pitcher he wants to be, he knows he needs to fix all his small problems now, and that's what he's been working on.
\r\n
\r\n\"The thing I've worked the most on is my mechanics, keeping steady with those mechanics,\" said Alvarez. \"And if there's a time to make adjustments, now is the time.\"
\r\n
\r\nLike most pitchers on the Double-A level, Alvarez, has one major problem to fix if he wants to become a major leaguer, and that's consistency. While staying consistent is a problem everyone faces, Alvarez's issue right now is consistently hitting his target.
\r\n
\r\nCertainly at only 21 though, Alvarez isn't going to be perfect in his mechanics but he is working on it right now.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm working on not opening up to early and keeping the structure of my posture straight up,\" explained Alvarez about his current adjustments. \"That's part of my success, not opening up to early. I'm working on all my pitches location, obviously velocity comes with location. I want pin-point location.\"
\r\n
\r\nLike most pitchers on the Double-A level, Alvarez, has one major problem to fix if he wants to become a major leaguer, and that's consistency. While staying consistent is a problem everyone faces, Alvarez's issue right now is consistently hitting his target.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has the stuff to get major league hitters out, it's just a matter of doing it on a consistent basis,\" said Walker. \"I don't think anyone will deny that, I think he needs to get more seasoning, he needs to face more batters, work on his routine, and preparation to pitch on a major league level.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'd say he's getting closer by the game but he needs to continue to pitch and do the things he needs to do to consistently get major league hitters out.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's not just a couple of pitches that make Alvarez so good on the mound though. It's his all-around game that has his coach raving why this Double-A stud could make the majors.
\r\n
\r\n\"He controls the running game and he fields his position tremendously,\" said Walker. \"His command is very good, it continues to get better.
\r\n
\r\n\"His composure on the mound is very good and his presence of the mound is good and continues to get better every game. I think he locates his fastball at a very good level right now.\"
\r\n
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